Becoming Servant
January 1987

“Becoming Servant,” Ensign, Jan. 1987, inside back cover

Becoming Servant

At twelve you stand taller,

my son, my brother,

with unnatural posture straight

in a row before the white and simple altar

of sacrament linen, beneath

these high windows where Christ’s

diffusion—through loose-woven curtains—

falls like a secret

onto your combed hair.

This sunlight for halo

and white shirt for purity

is your beginning of service:

clothed in the swordless

armor of David—the mantle of Aaron—

large like the coat of your suit

to grow into.

With round and somber eyes

you glide, bearing the polished tray,

the poured and broken symbols

of renewal you must yet understand.

And you gather the offerings from the fast,

generous secrets from hearts

in need, for those in want.

At fourteen, unseen, each tiny cup in place,

you fill the tray

from the tap with thin cold stream

to brim with blessing,

tip excess and wipe to dry.

The polished silver glistens

in the Sabbath light.

Afterwards you stand

with your long arms folded,

a solemn sentinel before the tall

closed doors of the chapel.

The suit now fits, Aaronic mantle too,

as you guard the silence

of the sacrament sanctuary—such as it is

in our restless mortal procession.

Your deepening and uncertain voice rises

seldom in song, will pray aloud

beside an elder on a couch.

At sixteen your large hands,

washed and clean,

break symbols that consecrate

our acts, our thoughts,

strong hands that reach out

from the nearly outgrown mantle

of outward ordinance

toward the essential higher oath.

Today you kneel, you sanctify

with manly tone and cadence

emblems to a holy purpose.

Kneel, princely

brother, before this white remembrance

to remind us how

He descended to rise,

to take us with Him if we will.